The women of Some Girls Metal strongly believe that music and art are very deeply intertwined and eternally trade places between giving and receiving inspiration. We feel one cannot exist without the other, like strands of thread that weave together and make a bolt of fabric. In that stead we have decided to feature various artists from different fields and learn about their process, ideas, and source of inspiration. This week we are very excited to debut this idea which will become a recurring part of our website.
We are honored to present our first featured artist, Ascending Storm, whose ethereal and labyrinthine paintings seep into the deepest crevices of your mind and spirit you away to unknown places.
When you are looking for inspiration, where do you start and if you are having a creative block what do you do to get over it?
Inspiration hits me at odd times, often lulls when I’m driving or walking somewhere, where I need to quickly archive the idea so I don’t lose the potency of the concept, which means writing down words that resonate with me, and sketching things on paper or my hand. A potent idea rarely ever comes when it’s forced, it hits me at random times and consumes me until I chip away at it. What inspires me are life experiences, and I take those and break them down into imagery & symbols. I start at the very core of what I believe and who I am, my values and how I think and view the world, It’s a complete inner reflection and evolution of my own life and perception. All of life’s hardships and joys are things I take inspiration from, lessons and overcoming obstacles. It starts from an individual, honest and open, direct vision with no outside expectation or alterations, meaning I never create art to please people unless it’s a project I’m doing strictly for them. If you look at the art world you can see so much replication of what’s already popular, what’s already created being recreated, and to me there’s more in the soul of the artist than being a copy machine. Originality starts when you destroy the concept of pleasing people.
Everything else concerning inspiration is secondary. A lot of my inspiration comes from my love of music. My entire life has been interlinked with music while I create. The emotional vibrance is something that makes me reflect and pry out things I truly want to say. But inspiration always comes from those moments when you are human, vulnerable, honest. Life simply provides enough when you are observant.
I struggled with creative blocks a lot early in my art career, in my early 20’s. There was a period where I couldn’t create art for almost 5 years. I am certain that the root of most all artistic blocks come from not really knowing what I wanted to say in my work. I enjoyed art, I seemed to be good at a certain level, but I had no idea what or who I was as an artist and what I wanted to say, and that was paralyzing. There were also times at that stage in my life where comparing myself to other artists made me have a block, and that’s just focus and energy going away from the creation process. After 5 years of thinking about what I wanted to make, and knowing in my heart what I truly wanted to say in this lifetime, I broke out of the block and I’ve never had one since. Over a decade later I sometimes will have moments of not knowing what to create, usually from having too much to say. If one, or two days go by and I’m not painting I start to feel like I’m losing my mind. So I just focus on the important ideas and it works itself out. It’s a process of narrowing down by priority.
That’s the most important advice I think I could give to artists, why do you make it? Ask yourself that question all the time, let it evolve and let it firmly guide your work, apply the answers to your work in turn.
If you could design the album artwork for any one band who would it be?
I think about the bands I love, and at first it would seem pretty awesome to do art for them, but the main reason why I love the bands I do is because of their own artistic vision they have outside of mine. My work is not really complimentary to the graphic work seen in a lot of design for bands, which also makes me feel humbled when bands come to me for art. To me, Given To The Rising by Neurosis is album art perfected, Josh Graham did an amazing job on that album. I really like bands adopting and merging the identity of the sound with a singular artistic style. I’m most proud of the work I did for Judd Madden’s last two albums, I’m an actual fan of his, making art for music I routinely listen to, which is a bit surreal in itself. If I had to pick one, it would be Yob. I would have to strip things down, make it focused and a bit minimal. Clearing The Path To Ascend is beautiful, powerful album art. When I hear those songs I see that image.
What are some of the underlying themes/ideas in your work and are they derived from personal experience?
Yes, most everything I make is sourced from a direct experience I’ve had. I am very interested in social/psychological aspects. That has played an important role in my work in the past few years and I actually have plans to start an entire series depicting psychological elements. I take from everything, life, death, pain, loss, health issues and the complications that has on the quality of life. The focus on money, addiction, position, control, and destruction. But also the need for hope, to transform and grow. To reflect and see the faults in oneself, the mistakes and to admit. The need to be vulnerable and sacrifice, to love and most of all, the strength to change.
Do you have a specific playlist you listen to when you are working and if so who are some of the bands?
When there is a new album out I’ll delve into that for weeks if not months. I like to stick to one band and give it my all for long periods of time. New music is always fun, it ignites new ideas, new worlds and atmospheres. Then there are the bands that have always been the foundation. Neurosis has always been there. I remember back in 1996 when I bought Through Silver In Blood, then Times Of Grace in 1999, it was more than my brain could comprehend being 15 years old, but I knew it was something extraordinary. Through Silver In Blood was something so different than anything else I had heard and it completely set the standard for me, and it changed the way I viewed music. Eventually as I aged and had complications in my life, all of a sudden the album made sense to me. It was revealed truly and purely as it is because I was in turmoil. It became an inspiration and a force for thought and creation like no other. It helped me adapt qualities and a vision in my own work, a level of integrity I identified with to make exactly what I wanted to make, and never let anyone come in between that. In 2006 I decided to buy a Wacom tablet after my 5 year art block to explore colorful realms of art, I felt like this was the tool to help me out of it and it did. At that point in my life Through Silver In Blood became the soundtrack for my art, along with everything else Neurosis has created. It was a language that spoke to me directly, easily, and at that point I knew exactly what I was supposed to do for myself, on my own artistically. To take that inspiration to create my own work, my own insight, my own worlds and vision. Neurosis is pure emotion and energy, it is what it is, no matter what type of music you listen to. It’s raw energy to create from. There are moments when you strip away everything you assume and expect something to be, you realize you are in a state of pure art.